In a case of “bah humbug,” a female suspect was arrested on December 18th for allegedly committing a string of package and mail thefts off of people’s porches in Citrus Heights, California. According to the Citrus Heights Police Department, Donna Marie Sieverin, 39, was arrested at her home in Sacramento for allegedly stealing Christmas gifts and mail from over 10 victims. She was on searchable probation from a previous burglary offense at the time of her arrest.
Ms. Sieverin was arrested after one mail theft victim, a homeowner in the area, caught her on a surveillance video and turned it into the media and police. The Citrus Heights Police Department states that it is utilizing “bait” packages throughout the city to help capture other suspects who may be committing similar thefts. Recently, package theft has been on the rise during the holiday season throughout the area.
It is a Crime to Steal Someone’s Christmas Package
Under 18 U.S.C. § 1702 and § 1708, it is a federal crime to take any mail (letters, postcards, packages) before it is delivered by the post office (called “obstruction of correspondence”) or to take mail by fraud or deception out of any post office or mail carrier.
Violation of § 1708 (committing the theft of a letter, mail, package) is punishable by fines and up to five years imprisonment, or both. In fact, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has its own Postal Police charged with safeguarding our country’s mail system.
It is a Crime to Receive Stolen Mail or Goods
It is a similarly punishable crime to also receive mail or property that is stolen. See California Penal Code § 496. Stolen property means property that was stolen in any way in violation of California’s Grand theft and Petty theft laws. This means the property was obtained by theft, burglary, or robbery. You are guilty of this crime if you: 1) knowingly bought, received, or concealed from the property owner stolen property and 2) it was obtained by extortion. It still counts if you knew the property was someone else’s stolen Christmas package.
Receiving stolen property is a wobbler crime, meaning it is either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances. If charged as a misdemeanor, it is punishable by up to one year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. If charged as a felony, it is punishable by up to 16 months imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
San Diego Theft and Mail Theft Lawyer
Sometimes people do not realize that the Christmas gift they are receiving is stolen property, or that the gift at the thrift store they are purchasing was stolen. This can serve as a legal defense if you did not intend to commit any crime. If you have been charged or arrested for theft, embezzlement, or mail theft, contact the Law Offices of David M. Boertje today. We will work through every legal defense available to you. Consultations are free and confidential.